We had our first day in school on Monday.
Well not a full day, not even a half day. Ok, we had our first half hour in school yesterday. Alright, fair enough, Toots had her first half hour in school yesterday.
I was convinced it wasn't going to go well at all.
For starters, I managed to get the idea in my head that her school visit was at the end of June. Then yesterday, I was cleaning up after lunch and I was putting a few things away in the larder. I came back out again and closed the door and caught sight of the letter from the school attached to the notice board. I walked on past and headed back out to the garden again, but something about that letter jarred and I pelted back into the kitchen at break neck speed, very nearly falling over the child's scooter in the process, and grabbed the letter.
I looked at the letter, school visit - 8 June 2009 2.15-2.45pm, I looked at the clock 2.10pm.
"Frick, frick, frick, crap, Toots get in here quickly, you're supposed to be in school today."
"You're supposed to be in...... Where are your shoes?"
"I don't have any shoes."
"You have shoes, you had shoes, you went outside ten minutes ago with shoes."
"No I didn't."
So now we're running down the street, well I'm running down the street with a 4 year old under my arm like a rugby ball gleefully reacquainting herself with her long lost shoes.
The shoes were located in a tree and now my arms are covered with scratches from trying to get them back out again. Turns out the four year old can fit into much smaller places than I can. Who knew!
We were ten feet from the school gates and only a minute or two late. I figured we were good since I doubted all the children walked into the classroom, sat down quickly and quietly and were ready to begin at bang on 2.15pm. Then Toots decides that its "too bouncy" being carried. She wants down to run herself.
Fair enough sweetheart, you're not exactly light as a feather anymore.
Three steps she managed.
Three steps at full speed.
Then she went flying onto her face.
Her knees were cut, her hands were cut, she missed her face, thank god.
The wallop of her hitting the ground was deafening and then came the screaming.
High pitched wails echoed around the otherwise completely noiseless street.
I rubbed her knees, I rubbed her hands, I rubbed her elbows and still she screamed.
I asked if she wanted to go home, I'd phone the school and explain, but no she insisted she wanted to go.
We continued to the school gates, still wailing.
We walked across the school grounds, still wailing.
We walked into the P1 courtyard and knocked on the door, still wailing.
All I could think was, I'm buggered, she's going to go in here and cry for the entire half hour and disrupt everyone and her first experience with school will be crying her eyes out and me having to take her out of the room away from everyone.
And then the door opened, the tears dried, a smile appeared and off she ran, yelling something about me going home for coffee and she'd see me later.
Have you ever taken an appliance back to the shop because it wasn't working only for the 12 year old behind the counter to try it and have it work perfectly thereby making a complete liar out of you?
It felt a bit like that.
I went to get her some strawberries from the shop and then headed back again to collect her.
I've spent weeks now telling her all the lovely things about school and do you know that when she got into that classroom she only remembered one thing. Her teacher informed me that she'd barely sat down on her seat when she piped up "You don't have a blackboard. My mummy said if I was a good girl you'd let me clean the blackboard".
Well, my primary school did that. Does anyone else remember getting to clean the blackboard and it not being a punishment for something?
Turns out schools don't have blackboards anymore. They have "interactive whiteboards". Wha???
So I'm old.
I remember blackboards and real chalk and sandpits and reading corners at the back of the classroom. I remember getting to have a nap in the afternoon. I remember those little miniature versions of the full sized glass bottles of milk with the proper foil cap and the little blue straw we were given to push through the lid.
I remember non nutritionally balanced school dinners. I remember huge shortbread biscuits I needed two hands to hold and big metal jugs filled with strawberry milkshake. I remember chips on Friday and tinned fruit cocktail and semolina. I remember sausage pie and the cornflake buns that were a layer of shortbread, a layer of strawberry jam and a layer of cornflakes bound together with golden syrup and probably MSG, but oh they were good.
I remember kids weren't overweight either. And I never met anyone with an allergy until I was in my 20s.
Maybe I am getting old.
Maybe I can only be truly nostalgic and remember how good it used to be now that I am old and everything has become "safe" and "portion controlled" and "monitored" and, and clinical.
I don't know.
My back's killing me though.
What's your favourite memory from your school days?